Eleven civilians, including 10 children, die in Nato air strike



KABUL // A Nato air strike killed 11 Afghan civilians, including 10 children, during a fierce weekend gun battle with Taliban militants that also left one US civilian adviser dead in eastern Afghanistan, Afghan officials said yesterday.

The US-led coalition confirmed that air strikes were called in by international forces during the Afghan-led operation in a remote area of Kunar province near the Pakistan border.

The coalition also said that it was aware of reports that civilians had been killed, but had no immediate information about their deaths.

The death of Afghan civilians caught in the crossfire of battle has been a major point of contention between international forces and the Afghan government, prompting the president, Hamid Karzai, to ban his troops from requesting air strikes earlier this year.

Wasifullah Wasify, a government official in Kunar province, said the air strike on Saturday targeted a house and killed 10 children and one woman inside. He said seven Taliban suspects were also killed and five other women in the house were wounded.

The air strike occurred after a joint US-Afghan force faced hours of heavy gunfire from militants after launching an operation targeting a senior Taliban leader late on Friday in the Shultan area of Kunar's Shigal district, according to Gul Pasha, a tribal elder who is also the chief of the local council in Shultan.

"In the morning after sunrise, planes appeared in the sky and air strikes started and continued until evening," he said.

He said the main suspect was in the house that was hit and the woman and children, between the ages of one and 12, who were killed were members of his family.

"I don't think they knew that all these children and women were in the house because they were under attack from the house and they were shooting at the house," he said.

The US-led coalition said it provided fire support from the air, killing several insurgents.

"The air support was called in by coalition forces, not Afghan security forces, and was used to engage insurgent forces in areas away from structures, according to our reporting," said Maj Adam Wojack, a coalition spokesman.

He said the International Security Assistance Force was assessing the incident.

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Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

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Age: 59

From: Giza Governorate, Egypt

Family: A daughter, two sons and wife

Favourite tree: Ghaf

Runner up favourite tree: Frankincense 

Favourite place on Sir Bani Yas Island: “I love all of Sir Bani Yas. Every spot of Sir Bani Yas, I love it.”

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Hobbies: Salsa dancing “It's in my blood” and listening to music in different languages

Favourite place to travel to: “Thailand, as it's gorgeous, food is delicious, their massages are to die for!”  

Favourite food: “I'm a vegetarian, so I can't get enough of salad.”

Favourite film:  “I love watching documentaries, and am fascinated by nature, animals, human anatomy. I love watching to learn!”

Best spot in the UAE: “I fell in love with Fujairah and anywhere outside the big cities, where I can get some peace and get a break from the busy lifestyle”

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Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.


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